Category Archives: Click Done

We In the Right Need

TO STOP ASSERTING that leftist myrmidons, by their Alinskyite tactics, are alienating “half the country.” Admit it: the right is far MORE than half. We represent a majority view. An electoral majority, not an ethnic majority, although there’s that, too.

Ellipses: June 15, 2017

BACK IN THE OLD DAYS back when I had more to say about current events, I used to do this feature I called Ellipses — quick links and quotes, á Instapundit — in a bunch as line items, separated by ellipses (…). See if this works.

ROGER KIMBALL: Trump and the end of the beginning.

I particularly love this metaphor:

There is a small pen of chihuahuas yapping wildly that Trump should be impeached because, because, because—the doggies will get back to us later with a reason. (The real reason is simply that they don’t like Mr. Trump.)

Heh. The legacy partisan press as ankle-biters. Indeed.

FIRE: Rejecting the “heckler’s veto” That for those who say only the government can impose censorship. To which I say, “It’s spinach and to hell with it.” It is pernicious. It is illegitimate. It ought not be countenanced in a liberal society. And to Hell with it!

And that’s how they work. If this little snippet of an Ellipsis gets a decent reaction, I’ll try to do more. Back then, they were the feature I found easiest to do, and the rest of what I view as the golden-age BabyTrollBlog followed in their train. Readers from that period, who might miss it and desire a resurgence of that content, should do well to let me know.

Gorgeous Light

ON THURSDAY AFTERNOON Cell phone camera demonstrates its inadequacies. Not that I couldn’t have gotten what I saw using it, but that I couldn’t get it in a snapshot.

Taking time to set up a shot and work the meter to get the desired exposure is not something that’s easy to do when one is behind the wheel.

The Cincinnati Club at Fourth and Broadway. Layered in Photoshop and foreground and sky separated to allow for exposure adjustment.

I’m Sure Most of You

WILL HAVE HEARD but just in case you haven’t. The Dear and priceless Connie du Toit has passed, leaving the world bereft of her scintillating presence. And her beloved Kim is now alone in life and reaches out via a renewal of his blogness at Splendid Isolation Go. Read. Register so you can comment. It will doubtless be a lively community and participation will only be possible via commentary.

Dolly and I will attempt to keep up, though I’m dead certain Kim will set a lively pace.

Throw Forward Wednesday: An Update

THE JOB I REFERRED COYLY TO the other week is no secret, I’ve just been coming to terms with it. It’s this simple: I’m driving for Lyft — the gig economy ride share service. In an interim progress report, it seems to be going well. I’m maintaining an acceptable-to-fair star rating and have a 100% acceptance rating (which probably means nothing to anyone not directly involved), and I’m making money. Not hand-over-fist, and not nearly $35/hour (though I can see how it’s possible). I can see how it can be a reasonable part-time job (I’m shooting to be on the road 36 hours a week), supplementing other income streams, or providing the mainstay of a diverse set of them.

The other day, Toni regaled me with some tales of her youth, spent in Detroit among a rich community of friends and family and a music scene that you have to see close up to realize how cool it would have been to be there.

Today, out doing my gig economy gig, I found myself taking a tour down memory lane, while listening to the nostalgia-inducing music of Crowded House on shuffle play on Spotify. I had a trip take me to the neighborhood that my high school crowd sometimes called Blonde Hill for the fact that my Jewish American Princess sweetheart lived there. After dropping off my rider, I tootled up the hill to what used to be her street. Just taking the turns at the stop signs, memories came flooding back. I followed the doglegs back to the cul de sac in front of her old house. There was another, similar one next to it that, somehow, I didn’t remember from back then. But I recognized the pattern of the windows on the front wall — the living room on the left, the kitchen on the right. The steep grade to the garage I don’t remember anybody ever using. They all parked on the street.

You have to picture all this to the sound track of Crowded House and a state of mind prone to fits of depressive nostalgia: she was the love of my life — the one who got away. She was entirely justified in leaving me, but, as Amanda Marshall put it, it broke me. I still feel it, but it was — also as the song goes — no-no-no-no-o body’s fault but mine. In a mood that grows out of Willie Nelson’s “To All the Girls I Loved Before,” I wonder whatever became of her. She’d be 61, now (she’s nine months younger than I). Is the petite girl who, on figure skates on Eden Park’s Mirror Lake, evoked Elton John’s Tiny Dancer for me still in there somewhere? God how I’ve missed her!

Then, a few moments later, I found myself again translated to another of my old stomping grounds — this time the University of Cincinnati area, called Clifton, and the various places I lived there in my early 20s, from leaving High School and hanging out in a co-op house near the Zoo, through my first solo apartment, the job at the Palace Theater, and starting out at Otto, on through until Toni and I, recently married, moved out of our expensive apartment on the other side of the hill to a house in a tonier ZIP code with a cheaper monthly mortgage payment.

Looking at this post, with its lack of a real conclusion, I suspect that the new job will be the source of other posts. I hope they will be entertaining. More-so than the one below, which finally explains from my perspective, what became of the greatest gig in the world and my mysterious departure from it.

In My Early Teens, Despite Never Having Been…

OUT TO SEA, OR EVEN out on water in anything more substantial than a car ferry, I designed a sailboat. Which, to my delight, my nautically-inclined leatherneck uncle pronounced a fair-looking craft. He even thought it would float.

In world building my ficton for the Baby Troll Chronicles, I’ve included in my back story a character who is partly attached to the modern stories of the adventures of Gabrielle “Dolly” East, her karmic predecessor, Gabrielle Francesca East, called the most successful Childe of the East in the long history of Upothesa, who held that office from 1838 to 1863 and founded East College of the Americas, which is the main venue for most of the stories.

During her tenure, GFE1, as I call her for short, served for a time as the chief factor of the commercial enterprises of the Greek God Hephaestus — Olympia Trading, Ltd. As such, she was required to travel the world at some length (indeed, spending all of her 20s at sea, participating in such various historical events as the founding of Hong Kong and the Crimean War). Her vehicle for these travels is an iconic sailing vessel, which I have early on typed as a sloop and christened Bella Donna (Italian, meaning Beautiful Lady). The choice of sloop seemed appropriate at first, as it could be crewed by a small complement, but would be seaworthy for long voyages, given opportunities and resources for resupply.

Here recently, I’ve been exercising my love of sailing ships and conning them across the open water by gathering images of tall ships on a Pinterest board I’ve called Tall Ships, Blue Water. Along with that, I’ve been reading about sailing vessels — renewing my acquaintance with the types. And I’ve come to think that the sloop is not so much the appropriate type for Bella Donna, the first Gabrielle Francesca’s yacht and have settled, perhaps, on a schooner, such as The Lady Washington (left below) or The Pride of Baltimore (right), although a three-masted, ketch-rigged, fore-and-aft, topsail schooner would fit the bill completely, which takes us into the realm more of a brig or a brigantine.

As I take up my pencil and pens to re-up my drafting chops, I find myself eager to try drawing a sailing vessel of some type, albeit not one so complex and sophisticated as those above. Wish me success, please.

For some reason, the embed code for the pins of the ship images above is problematic. If you can’t see the thumbnails and want to see the full images, click on the box(es) to be taken to the Pinterest board in question. There’s a wealth of reading on the subject at Wikipedia, and, being as the subject is not one where opinions are as heated as, say, whether or not Hillary Clinton is a double-damned dirty traitor or Donald Trump is a money-grubbing parvenu, most of the articles may be trusted as relatively accurate.

Print That Out And I’ll Chop It

IN A DISCUSSION AMONG WRITERS and fans on another blog, the notion of a chop — a stamp or seal used to sign and sanctify a document — for authors, the idea being to allow said author to sign more autographs and/or books in a shorter period of time.

Reading the various comments, it came to mind that I have used the concept in the past myself — signing work with a winged capital “A”, as can be seen in this frame from my orphaned comic strip, Jazzcat.

And that I might want to play with the notion of trying it again — to update the idea from forty years ago to the 21st Century. An image I had seen recently — an illustration by an asian woman, the provenance of which I can’t recall any more — put me in mind of a certain style of sig or logo that is, indeed, derivative of Chinese chop seals. examples of which can be seen on this Pinterest board (which I am now following). Designs like those seen can be rendered onto a custom made rubber stamp or, at greater expense, a formal chop-type seal. I do not have the facility with either the Chinese language or the system of writing to design my own of either, though, sometime in the future, given an improved pecuniary circumstance, if I can form a favorite aphorism to thus encode, I might have one made for myself. Meantimes, I tried my hand at a sort of a roundeyes version of the idea.

chop_malger_base_160628If you google “artists’ signatures”, you’ll find page after page of images of things like the Chinese chops and seals. And, in a lot of cases, the designs take advantage of the resemblance of geometric primitives — circles, squares, triangles, etc — to some arcane alphabet. I decided to take that as a jumping off point, using my initials — MPA — as the input filter. The result, as you can see, looks like the back of an envelope — which is kind of meta, if you think about it.

The image I’ve been carrying in my mind is, as best I can remember it, in two colors — black and red, with the design and characters reversed out to the (white) paper color. So I played with the basic logo to make several variations, but not wanting to get too far from something that, in the absence of a stamp or seal, could be drawn with a few quick strokes of a pen. The results below. (Click to embiggen.)

chop_malger_1_variations_160628.

Of course, given a Photoshop install (which I don’t have at the moment — the subscription for PSCC being beyond my reach*), one could readily spin off a wide variation with textures, embossing, shadows, glows, and lens flare, though you’d want to keep it simple. Either you can use a rubber stamp — which you can get custom-made for a reasonable fee — or you want to draw the chop by hand. If you get to the point where you have to use a 4-color, die-cut sticker, the idea of simplifying the autograph process has just jumped the shark.

*Though, it could be made possible were person or persons among the readership here moved to make contributions to the as-yet-ongoing GoFundMe campaign (button at right). Such would also serve the purpose of kick-starting my freelance art business, which is, at this moment (see posts below), stillborn.

For a Little Political Moment

IN THE MORNING… I heard someone yesterday objecting to Ted Cruz (at least I think the intent was objection) on the basis that “he thinks everybody in America should start their day on their knees in prayer.” My response: “Not a bad idea.” The conversation turned there to matters not germane to this post, so we will leave it.

I can hear a lot of my atheist friends objecting on a First Amendment basis, which I, frankly, consider balderdash. The Amendment commands, first: “Congress shall make no law.” Which places no limit on anyone else, anywhere else in this great and vast nation, and is utterly silent on the matter of mere suggestions from public officials or private citizens. (It should be pointed out that, constitutionally, Congress is the sole legislative authority at the Federal level (and ONLY the Federal level — setting aside the so-called supremacy principle for the nonce), a principle which, these days, is honored more in the breach with every Thomas E., Tricky Dick, and Harry S. issuing orders, regulations, and ukases right, left, center, fore, and aft.) and no other pronouncement may have the force of law, so … what’s the bother?

The First Amendment (and requirements within the Articles) are said to demand a wall of separation between Church and State. Which is a silly notion, since we have no Church for there to be a wall between it and the State (which has gotten entirely too big for its britches anyway) — big-“C” as in The Church — in America, (that pesky no-establishment thing), only a bunch of little-“c” churches. Yet, by demanding said wall, the anti-theists, in effect, establish their own church.

For it seems that the semi-(NGO-style)-official High Church of America has, by default become the New and Reform Church of Christ Anti-theist, or so the anti-theists would have us believe, claiming the Founders were “deists” who, having worshiped in Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, and even Catholic churches for nigh on two hundred years, didn’t ascribe to Christianity. Such is the anti-theist Big Lie, which, having been repeated often and loudly for decades, now, is close to becoming Received Truth, though We the (little) People seem to be resisting the notion somewhat of late.

Lest my atheist friends be offended (such offense not being my purpose here), I should state my opinion, which it seems is close to observable fact, that while atheism is simply another strain of religious belief, which is to be greeted with a shrug and a “suit yourself” by Americans everywhere, ANTI-theism, the toxic strain which seeks to breach the OTHER part of the First Amendment — the part which demands Congress make no law respecting the free exercise of religion — is, in effect, an offense against individual rights: simple bigotry, not to be tolerated.

So, when a man of faith is open about it, rather than concealing his intent by obfuscation, persiflage, and outright lies, and makes a suggestion which is, on the face of it, utterly harmless, and may even redound in a net good to the country as a whole, one has to ask those objectors (in tones Christians must get tired of hearing in response to objections to moral decay in the country), “What are you so upset about?”

Artsy Fartsy Living

SO I’M SITTING HERE THINKING Photography’s an art, innit? Right?

There was a big controversy about that back when I was a boy photographer back in the ’60s. They said, “Anybody can TAKE a picture.” (Implying, of course, that there’s not much art in that.)

Of course, as the true photographers knew all along, you don’t so much TAKE a picture, as you MAKE a picture. Even were it possible to capture a scene exactly as it is in a given instant, the next instant, it will change — subtly or in gross. And, in photographing the scene, you influence its appearance, as well as the quantum existence of its constituents.

Plus, a photograph prevents you from actually knowing a given scene. There’s the NCIS example, when di Nozzo explained to Kate why they still sketch crime scenes. Others, I’m certain, abound. Even I knew all that back then. It concludeth to say that there is more artifice in a photograph than not.

In my HS days, though, my specialty was candid portraits. Even on the yearbook staff, it was an acknowledged specialty. And I took my text from Henri Cartier-Bresson**, who was famous for his fly-on-the-wall mode of getting images. I even carried a black camera, as inspired by HC-B.

(And, funnily enough, I look up at the camera hanging by its strap off the baker’s rack I use for a desk and — sure enough — I’m still carrying a black Nikon.)

And the shots of mine that made it into the book(s) the years I was on the staff were candid. Though I suspect I wasn’t all that unobtrusive. Sitting in a high school classroom, ignoring the teacher, snapping away, shooting endless rolls of Tri-X, candid shots of self-conscious teenagers: hard to avoid being noticed. And being a 6-foot-plus hulk, (albeit pretty skinny back then), dressed in dark colors, with that big old camera stuck up to my eye all the time.

malger selfie 160422earnie_in_window_lightBut that’s still my style, making candid portraits of the world around me. Nowadays with digital cameras — in the phone, yet (What’ll they think of next!?), it’s easier to capture what you see, though sometimes, it’s still a tough job to get what you see in the frame. Even in a mirror. Not gonna state it as a rule, but it does seem to me as though you can’t get a camera in a position to where you can photograph yourself as you see you in a mirror. The perspective is always wrong — the shapes of objects are distorted subtly. Here, I was looking at the image in the mirror, but the image is looking at the screen on the phone, thus lidding the eyes, it being impossible to look two directions at once.

Serendipity plays a pivotal role in instantaneous art — that is art over which the artist has only when-to-push-the-button control over when to freeze the motion that is an inevitable component of any scene — even the stillest of still lives. In the fast-moving art of candid photography, even the most carefully-framed shot will reveal the unexpected — which can often be seen as a bonus.

serendipity_illustration_btb_160424jane looks upFor example: in the images to the right, the top shot is the intended frame. I was trying to get a picture of Loki. Jane just photobombed me. But Loki moved too fast for the shutter to “freeze” him in action, thus making him too blurry for a normally acceptable shot. (I say normally, because I’ve had blurry shots turn out cool enough to use for some purpose, but it’s not common.) But The image of Jane, when framed and cropped correctly, is of interest. So it is treated so and saved as one of “my” pictures.

**The link goes to a Wikipedia article about Henri Cartier-Bresson. For the love of God, if you have the slightest interest in art or fine-art photography, go and read the article. Follow the links. Buy the books — especially Cartier-Bresson’s The Decisive Moment.

Yet Another Art-a-Day Post

TWO WEEKS LATER. In fact, it’s been so long, with the interim so eventful, I barely recall the subject matter alluded to in the March 29 post. However, today, I have a different subject to relate to you.

Part of my take — right or wrong — on this exercise is that we participants ought to present current works IN PROGRESS. A sort of a semi-formalized What I Did Today. Being a procrastinator, I’m going to lag that a bit. But I think I have an excuse. I was up until 3AM fighting with the machinery and software to transfer photos from my phone to my computer. (If anybody knows a transfer utility superior to Air Droid, please enlighten me. For me, it keeps losing the WiFi connection and failing of transfer. The photo set for today’s post totals out at 43MB. I’ve no idea why, even at WiFi speeds, that should take long enough to time out.) So my post TODAY is about what I did YESTERDAY. For what I did TODAY, tune in TOMORROW. (Or maybe later, depending on how well I can keep to this schedule. Past performance being a reliable indicator of future results. (Or however that goes.))

20160412_171354Swennyway. What I did yesterday was build a shelf. For my wife Toni (whose birthday was Monday, BTW) to go on the exposed brick chimney above her desk in the Study at Casa d’Alger. So, as a spoiler, here’s what it looks like, now finished. Process shots next. (Click to embiggen. Click all the little pictures if you want to see them bigger.)

The whole thing stems from when Toni started collecting things VW. Well, no, I suspect it goes back to the eighties when we collected Lladro porcelain figurines. We have a large stock of cats, flappers … I think there’s a ship under sail in there. Birds, bunnies, rocks, ashtrays (not so many of those since both of us quit smoking). Tux, the Linux penguin. A rubber duckie. Mugs and mugs full of pencils and markers. And, here lately, Toni’s been developing quite the garageful of bugs and buses. And neat, framed art — photos and prints.

It’s started to get a bit crowded over there. So Toni started looking for corbels. I was picturing a pair of nice acanthus leaves, or an owl or a gargoyle. But she ended up with some nice, Shaker-esque brackets. Seven inches tall by five deep. With dadoes cut top and back and screw eyes mounted in the dadoes.

Left Corbel20160412_174719Meantime, let us consider the field. As you can see in the pic above (and the left and right ends, herewith), there is casing molding either side of the brick, covering the seam between the brick and the drywall. Og and I selected this and the dentil molding that runs around the ceiling line of the whole room (or will once it’s done). It’s triple-fluted, so the placement of the corbels is critical. It would have been nicer if they had been the same width as the molding, but you do with what you have. The downside of this is that it becomes obvious that the two pieces — the molding board and the corbel — were not made to go together. If they had, either there would be a table cut into the molding to bed the corbel or the flutes would have been stopped short of the corbel’s position. However, simply mounting the corbel on the molding, with the flutes continuing under it doesn’t look THAT bad. And the upside is that there is a well-centered trough in which to position the mounting screw, which makes the mounting easier.

Before mounting the corbels, I set a six-foot level across the space and drew a line on the moldings to serve as a guide to everything. Then I measured the corbels to make sure I was setting the screws in the right place to position the tops level to each other and the base line. Good thing I did that. On one, the keyhole for the mounting screw was centered 1316” down on the other, the drop was 1¾”. I also noticed to my chagrin that the manufacturer had neglected to include a bracket for the shelf in the top dado. Seemed a rather dumb design decision to me, but, hey — they’re selling, so it must work for them. I’ll never buy another anything from that manufacturer and I doubt they’ll miss me.

Having marked the drops, I set the screws and drove them in with the drill, leaving the heads proud (and testing with the brackets periodically, adjusting with a hand screwdriver). I take a moment to note here that the idiot teenager who designed these things specified flat head screws, rather than the application appropriate round or pan head (with or without washer).

20160412_165438Then the action moved outside with a collection of tools and a six-foot number one grade white pine one by six bought previously. I cut it to length. (Love my Diablo blade — a quick spritz of WD40 on the running blade helps fora cleaner cut and helps keep the blade clean.) 57 inches was our rough measurement to determine needed stock, but the actual length turned out to be 56¾”

20160412_165555Once cut to length, I wanted to chamfer the top edges on three sides (not the side against the wall. My router is a Bosch 2¼ HP beast that weighs a ton but is suprisingly easy to handle and quite nimble on the wood. It handles like a dream when its running. The spinning motor has enough mass to have a gyroscope effect, making the thing tend to want to stay steady. I pulled it out of storage for this project and was surprised when I opened the case to find that I’d put it away with the chamfer bit already locked up and height adjusted to a cut depth appropriate for a ¾” board. It was the work of a couple of minutes to finish the edges.

We’d agreed not to put any kind of sealant or finish on the shelf because of Ditto. Birds don’t take well to the volatile organic compounds that are outgassed from paints and varnishes, not to mention solvents, so you don’t use them in areas where birds are — or even nearby. (And that includes deodorizers.) So the final step in building this shelf was to sand it smooth and clean — free of blemishes and splinters. Not too hard, since I’d started out with white wood to begin with. I put a quarter-sheet of 320 grit sandpaper in my Bosch orbital pad sander — another power tool that’s a dream to use — and smoothed the face and edges, softening the corners as I went. I spotted and smoothed one place where the router had chattered a bit and missed another one. I bet nobody else will ever see it.

Next time, a pretty jewel of a piece.

Rattling the Tin Cup

THE GO FUND ME campaign is still on all donations eagerly solicited and gratefully accepted.

You can get to where you can donate (by PayPal, if that’s how you roll) by clicking the button at right.

Or, you can buy one of my books (at Amazon, of course), and get something tangible for your money. Trust me, you’ll enjoy them.

And I should say some good words about the kind and generous people who have gotten us this far. Thank you SO MUCH.

Let’s Get This Straight

THE FIRST AMENDMENT is a limit on the power of Congress – and only Congress. That’s what the phrase, “Congress shall make no law…” Means. At the Federal level, sole legislative authority is given to Congress. And, under the doctrine of supremacy, (the Constitution says right on the box, Supreme Law of the Land, so that fits), on matters which the Constitution touches (and ONLY those matters), Congress is the supreme nation legislature. So what a state legislature legislates touching religion, assembly, association, the press and speech, and to petition the government is automatically null and void.

Now, it has not always been so. In fact some states early on had established religions, that being a right reserved to the states and the people, albeit forbidden the federal government.

The First Amendment forbids Congress (and thus any other legislature) to make any law respecting freedom of association. This means, directly, that the so-called “public accommodation” provisions of 1960s-vintage “civil rights” legislation, not having repealed those provisions of the Bill of Rights, are flatly unconstitutional. Any claims on the basis of public accommodation and the forbidding of discrimination in the provision of those goods and services on sundry bases are therefor — according to Supreme Court opinions and rulings — null and void.

Now, a lot of people are het up in a lot of who-struck-John on the subject of the shooting range owner who, exercising her First Amendment right of Free Association, (Not that the First Amendment grants the right — that’s an ontological impossibility — but that it recognizes and aims to secure the extant right as a proper function of government.), has chosen to refuse service to Moslems. Leaving aside the impossibility of enforcing such a rule, one cannot reasonably deny that she has that right. And, as legislating in the matter is forbidden to Congress, the matter is — by law — exclusively private.

Many of the more-reasoned arguments among the het up folk go like: “Be careful what powers you give the government; you may not like what use the government gets up to with its powers down the road.” And I do not argue the fundamental fact. It is true. Government should never be given power the people don’t desperately need it to have.

But.

In this case, that boat sailed — about fifty years ago, when statists in power in Washington decided that the people would rather give up the freedom of association than face long, hot summers of violent protests and rioting on into the foreseeable future. And the statists in power knuckled under to extortionate thugs. Some of whom still ply their trade today — ::coughJesseJacksonAlSharptonLouisFarrakhan::cough::

[Insert Ben Franklin’s quote on the subject and conclude with the “And they shall have neither.”]

I won’t presume to speak for others and argue, “Nobody’s arguing for government action to deny freedom of religion to Moslems.” That’s pointless, and not credible. I haven’t seen any serious arguments to that effect, but neither can I guarantee nobody’s made them. What I AM saying is that — for myself — I am arguing that in broad general, Americans need to stop turning to Washington for the solution to every problem and work things out for ourselves. If Moslems present a clear and present danger to America and Americans, We the People need to recognize that fact and behave accordingly, whether or not our government acknowledges our wishes.

As I have said in response to news reports on the shooting range owner’s actions, I believe her actions should be universal. Not that our government — or any government — should restrict religious freedom, but that We the People should, in exercising our right to freely association with whom we see fit, should refuse to associate with Moslems.

I do not know how this will work. But my statement of principle goes thus; I recognize that you, as a Moslem, have found in Islam some semblance of inner peace and order, and have accepted the need for you to submit to God. However, I do not believe in the divine origin of the creed of Islam, and find its tenets abhorrent. The history of the faith tells me that it is not a religion as I see it (we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one), but a toxic political ideology which has, in the person of its strongest adherents, declared war on my nation, people, family, and self. This is an intolerable situation and I will not tolerate it. So long as you practice Islam, I shall not associated with you, in community, worship, or business. Should you wish my association, you must abjure Islam and all who practice it. You cannot gull me with protestations of moderation, there can be no such thing. By the tenets of your own faith, if you depart one iota from its tenets, you are apostate and marked for death. I can only trust you if you leave the faith. Granted that also marks you as apostate, so I cannot see a happy solution for you.

You can say, “Well, then, why should I wish to associate with you?” I do not have an answer. I only know I don’t wish to associate with YOU.

Quote of the Day

“It is impossible to understand the politics of the Left without grasping that it is all about deniable intimidation.”

–Richard Fernandez

(H/T: Instapundit)

Quote of the Day

In whose judgment is a free trade a failure?

Harry Binswanger

The notion of “market failure” is a contradiction in terms. The “market” is an abstraction. The concrete reality is individuals freely trading goods and services. What would it mean for such free trade to “fail”? By what standard? In whose judgment? “Failure”–for whom? These are the unasked questions. They can’t be asked, because the answers would be the refutation of the doctrine of “market failure.

Quote of the Day

THESE PEOPLE (THE RINO ESTABLISHMENT) never stand on principle, except during campaigns, when they don’t mean it. And when it comes time to govern, then they jettison it. — Mark Levin

As I’ve said many times before: principle is pragmatic.

Yet Another Outbreak of Lawlessness Within the Government

OPERATION CHOKE POINT a filthy, despicable initiative of the regime is stealing the bank accounts of employees in a legal industry which is also (by the way, did I also mention) A FIRST-AMENDMENT-PROTECTED ONE. No matter how you approach this, it should generate shoot-on-sight orders for Eric Holder, his deputies, and any agent attempting to enforce these orders.

St Ann Is Back in My Good Graces

FOR HER EVISCERATION of Obamacare in this week’s column. In passing, she asserts “Screw you, Mickey Kaus,” (Who, she writes, is a principal cheerleader for Obamacare — but, more likely, the IDEA of universal, government-paid medical cost-shifting.)

Which brings me to mind the appropriate response to that Rhode Island State Senator (Why should I trouble myself to remember his name?) whose terminal arrogance entitles him to denigrate, vitiate, and generally ignore the Second Amendment to the Federal Constitution. GO FUCK YOURSELF.

Actually, that is growing in my mind to THE appropriate response to leftist importunings.

GO FUCK YOURSELF!

And the John

THROWS FUCKWADS OF CASH in the air and the whores line up and jump for it.

You Know, I Have Read

THE ENTIRE TEXT OF the Constitution many times — even memorized certain parts of it.

Nowhere therein have I found a clause stating “except when the state determines that the people have overreached.”

Note to Nokia and AT&T

YOUR ADVERTISING AGENCY is wasting your money by tracking me and pushing ads for your phones on me. I already have the phone. We already use the service. It was a recent upgrade. I don’t need to be urged to get a new one. The ads will only serve to piss me off by reminding me how egregiously you’re invading my privacy and make me LESS likely to buy your products NEXT time.

It’s A Dirty Damned Shame

THAT THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS of the Obamacare rollout have been so ineptly screwed up. It’s allowing Democrats and others to elide the central fact that the arrogant imposition of the program on the people is wrong in the first place and that fact alone ought to be dispositive.

Lemme Get This Straight

SO THE RACE HUSTLERS AND poverty pimps object to gentrification because … They want their people to live in rat-infested slums the gentrification would replace?

::nods::

Ooooh. Kaaayyy.

I Seem to Recall

THAT A GI 1911 used to be called (colloquially) a Government Model.

Liberals: Assume I’m Right and You’re Wrong

AND SEE WHERE IT LEADS.

Now, this is not going to be an effort-free exercise. You’re going to have to put forth your hand, stretch your mind, and, see things from my perspective — i.e., the truth. Are you willing and able to even see the truth? Trust me on this: the Left has tried mightily to blind you to the truth since Left first became Left. That is to say, your entire system of beliefs is founded on a lie. In ignorance. On false premises.

It’s going to mean you must research the facts of your position and be ready to accept the truth. No hedging. No persiflage. No prevarication. No “greater truth.” (If you are urged to accept the greater ANYthing, you are, in essence, being asked to support a moral lapse in favor of an illusion. The so-called Greater Good subsumes a supposedly “Lesser” evil. But evil is a binary condition — something is or is not. There can be no shades of gray. And the claim that they exist is an attempt to blind you to the moral reality. The very notion of shades of gray in moral terms is a lie. It is evil. Not lesser: period. Plain old-fashioned evil.

No. A so-called “greater” good — an infringement against rights, for example, for the benefit of a majority (the “greater” part of this equivocation) — always subsumes a greater evil. No doubt, the Nazis would claim that the Holocaust was for the greater good. And, Godwin notwithstanding, so it goes. Someone always makes a sacrifice — and if it were willing, why would anyone have to ask? — in such a case. If you kill someone in the service of the “greater good” does that make your act not-murder? How does that work? Can you explain the mechanics of that?

Or, take global warming. The original term was CAGW — Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. Both Alger and I have long demanded that, in order for the phenomenon to be worthy of humanity’s attention, ALL FOUR of the conditions must be satisfied, and any one of them failing on the merits invalidates the entire warmist argument. This is not a matter of opinion. It is self-evident fact. Moving the goalposts by changing the name of it to Climate Change is equally invalid. Climate is change. Asserting that a primary characteristic of a phenomenon is that which renders it problematic is what the logic folks call a tautology.

So, here’s where you have to exercise your mind. In order to test the notion of CAGW, indeed, to utterly debunk it, you need only find the answer to one question: the warmist conjecture asserts that the global temperature has risen x degrees over a period of centuries (one-point-five, or whatever). Fine. Here’s the kicker: How do they know? They are asserting a fact. Indeed, this fact is at the core of their argument. Without it, there is no argument. They are asserting that the temperature of the Earth has risen 1.7 degrees Centigrade since 1750. Or 1870. Or 1978. How. Do. They. Know? Show me the CarFax. There should be spreadsheets of data, attested to, certified, countersigned, and tested by repeated experimental verification. There should be ABSOLUTELY no doubt as to what the temperature of the Earth is right now. You should be able to surf to Weather Underground and get a number. It is 35 degrees Fahrenheit out there, folks. Or 53. It should lead the news report every evening at six and eleven.

Right? No-wait warming before the first commercial?

So, do some research. Look up the datasets. Import them into Excel. Do trend analysis. Or, accept as gospel the trend analysis available on the sites where the datasets are posted on the Web. Look at the metadata. How many sites are there? Where are they positioned? What areas of the globe to they cover? What areas are missed?

The more you learn about this subject, the closer you come to satori — to the realization, the enlightenment that there’s no there there. That there is no evidence — none whatsoever — that backs up the warmist assertion.

Now, it seems a reasonable assumption that, since the Northern Hemisphere was coming out of the Little Ice Age just as the Industrial Revolution was kicking into high gear, it’s a pretty good bet that the Earth has warmed — perhaps substantially — since then. But, as Alger has said many time in many venues, at the moment, the only proof the so-called “settled science” has put forth is that when we’ve looked where we’ve looked, the available data seems to indicate a warming trend — albeit nowhere near the intensity the warmists would have you believe. But that’s a helluva long way from proof or — gagme — “settled” science.

But da Doll is trying to make a larger point. That the foundations of your political beliefs are built on sand. Go ahead. Do your own research on warming. It’s easy to do. The actual data is readily available. Truly qualified scientists have gone over the data, the theory, its conclusions, and have thoroughly debunked it all. You won’t have to dig very hard to reach the inevitable conclusion.

And, as you do, you’ll come to recognize patterns. A certain shrillness of insistence. Patterns of illogic — argumentum ad hominem, appeal to authority, post hoc ergo propter hoc, playing liars poker with statistics — a hollowness of assertions, a tendacious mendacity: “Who are you gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes?” A tendency to use sleight of hand and other tricks of misdirection to distract you from facts you know for certain.

And, as you expand your search for knowledge to other fields — rights, the use of government largesse to buy votes and peddle influence, the corruption and abuses inherent in all government, without regard to intent or the putative integrity of those involved, the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of using government’s monopoly on the initiation of the use of force to coerce involuntary surrender to demands for specific behavior against conscience — you will come to recognize these earmarks of the Leftist argumentarium. These earmarks of Left-liberal fascism.

And, if you are honest with yourself, you will come to realize the truth in my position and, when you come out of the experience, I believe you will be at least a libertarian — a true liberal — if not a Buckley-ian conservative. As Milton Friedman put it: a small-l libertarian and a capital-R Republican.

And then we’ll have to educate you to capital-R Republican perfidy in opposition to ordered liberty.

But that’s another battle. Some other time.

Apologies to All

INCLUDING READER Random Lurker (We’ll call him Randy.), who commented on the bewbage, for not having posted in a frakkin’ week.Sorry ’bout that, Chief. And more bewbage later. And, yeah, I know the rules: “Never apologize; never explain.” But it just felt like the right lede. I do more of that that I probably should admit to — going on gut instinct.

Anyway, through a creative use of paid holidays, I have managed to stretch my vacation to the end of the year, starting Monday just passed. And then for another week into 2014, using days from next year’s vacation days (I did the same at the beginning of this year, so it kind of rolls over.) All-in-all three weeks of free time, with the exception of family visits on Christmas Day.

My intentions were threefold (and still are, to the extent that life rolls have messed with my momentum). I want to write substantial wordage on Discovery — the working title of the current novel. I want to get started on a regimen of yoga and develop the habit of exercising daily. And I want to start working to get my drawing chops back. I had, in fact, hoped to have reports of developments on all three fronts — and can report that I have written 5,000 new words — but life has conspired to fuck my shit up.

Kris Rusch calls these little bobbles in the event continuum Life Rolls. I can’t argue. Life does roll — right over you. But I can’t help snarking back — life doesn’t so much roll as it sucks. But I’ve had a few minor life rolls in the last few days.

Last Thursday evening, I was fixing dinner. Chicken and Spanish Rice. On this occasion, I had discovered a package of white mushrooms in the produce drawer and figured that, since they were almost two weeks old, they probably ought to get cooked before they started to spore. I washed theme, breaking the stems off the caps and running the stems down the disposal. I cut up the caps and was sauteeing them in butter when I noticed that the water had not gone down in the sink. No panic. This has happened before. I got the plunger and wanked the drain with it.

Wanked?

Yeah, Dolly. Ever seen somebody plunge a sink drain?

…Oh! Wanked. I see.

Anyway, no joy. the water went back-and-forth between the plain drain and the disposal, but none of it went down.

Then I noticed my feet were wet. “Why is there water on the floor, coming out of the base cabinet?” I asked myself. “Where could the water be coming from?

As it turned out, it was coming out of the bottom of the disposal.

Oh.

Shit.

Did I ever tell you how much I HATE working on the plumbing under the sink?

I just didn’t feel like messing with it on a school night. So, I sent an email to Toni (who was on an away gig) that the kitchen sink was non-operational and went to bed. Friday, went to work, had an amazing day. (Why do customers always call with last-minute projects right when you’re trying to get out of the place for vacation?). Friday evening, I had leftover chicken and Spanish rice. Washed my dishes in the bathroom sink, but resolved not to trust it and re-wash them all once the kitchen sink was fixed. Toni wondered if that was sane, but once she saw the situation for herself, ratified my decision.

Some quick research on the Innertubez informed me that water leaking from the bottom of the disposal means the disposal’s main seal has blown. I should take it out and take it to the nearest service center (which is clear the other side of the county). In-Sink-Er-Ator verified this on their site, so I felt pretty confident I had the straight poop. (Remember: they can’t put anything on the Internet if it’s not true.) Meanwhile, Home Depot told me a new one would cost $80.00. What do you think the service center would charge to replace a main seal? Add in gas and time and. No brainer. Get a new one. Did. Put it in. Didn’t fix the no-drainee problem.

Tried various flavors of chemical drain cleaners. Couldn’t find a microbial variety at Home Depot, which I suspect would have worked just fine. Advise from the Internet (verified, of course), was that the next step is to snake the drain.

Oh, joy.

Now, I had a snake already. But it was one of those long-straight ones that you attach to your drill, pull the trigger, and it twists into a pretty plumber’s braid. So, back to Home Depot (one more visit and it’s a project), to get a better snake. One with a reel and a crank handle.

SO. The video instructions for the snake show a guy standing at a kitchen sink. His narration leads me to believe that he was dealing with a single drain that went straight down to the trap and then straight across to the wall. How convenient. But not in this house you don’t.

Here, you have a different situation. One side of the double-bowl sink is the disposal. Even I know better than to put a snake down a disposal. the other side, the drain goes down to where it meets the cross connection that would have been the join if there were NOT a disposal on the right. Then there’s an elbow onto a straight shot…

No. That’s not right.

Oh, I don’t know.

Then it all goes back to meet the laundry drain. But somehow, this all goes down to a last horizontal run that joins with a brass compression fitting to the side drain that services then across and down to the trap, then to the side line that serves this side of the house. That last run is where I want to insert my snake into the line. It’s about two inches above the floor of the cabinet and way at the back. NOT someplace you can get to standing up. Or even in a comfortable crouch.

I could have used a creeper just about then.

Swewnneyway, I spent a good portion of Sunday afternoon spinning away at that snake, lying on my back, with my hands over my head in awkward positions. (It would have been fine if my elbows bent the other way. As it was: pain.) The lip of the cabinet was sharp and hard, so I grabbed a bunch of throw rugs to build up a support for my shoulders. It worked, sort of. After a lot of shifting around, I finally found a position I could stand and cranked the snake out to its full length (25′) and brought it back. Cranking five or ten minutes, then breaking for five or ten… or fifteen… or twenty.

Aside from a few stray strands of… don’t ask… there was no sign on the snake of any serious blockage. But, when I put the drain back together (Yay! for threaded, hand-tighten PVC connections.), damned if it didn’t run free. But that managed to blow two days’ free time, and thus no bloggage.

Then, Wednesday morning, I woke up with a cough. Last couple of days, it have been just a thrill to be me.

At the moment, I’m still under the weather, but feeling better than since Wednesday. Here’s hoping this cold-flu-whatever continues to improve.

Click; Done.

IT IS A VIOLATION of both constitutional principle and statute law (18 USC§241) to conspire against civil rights.

The Supreme Court has just recently and once again acknowledged that to keep and bear arms (including firearms) is a protected individual right.

Nanny Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns amounts to a conspiracy against civil rights, which makes him a fugitive from justice, on a federal felony count.

Further, to do so under color of law aggravates matters. (18 USC§242) And, should death eventuate due to this violation, the defendant may be sentenced to death. If Nanny Bloomberg denies one citizen his rights under the Second Amendment and that citizen is rendered defenseless and dies in the face of aggression or predation, the little Hitler wannabe might find himself on a gurney with a drip feed taped to his arm.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Sic Semper Tyrannes.

Click; done.

Click; Done

FORGET ABOUT EDWARD Snowden and stop trying to distract us with him. This is what is material: is there an ongoing program as described? It is unlawful; stop. Click; done.

Nice Tits

nice_titsTHERE’S A PHRASE Alger uses — “Nice tits” — in reference to lefty airheaded celebrity women. Not all, merely the feckwitted ones. Bred for looks and not particularly bright or otherwise skilled, they nevertheless enjoy certain visibility because of their professions.

BY THE WAY [One might ask,] “What’s with the ‘nice tits?'” One or one of you might have noticed that I have sarcastically, (albeit honestly), been using the phrase, “nice tits” with regard to female anti-war idiots of the celebrity persuasion.

And you might well ask, “Why?”

Well, it’s like this. ‘Way back when, in the ’70’s to be precise, on WKRP in Cincinnati, Mother Carlson sarcastically typed Andy Travis, (Gary Sandy), as a pretty face with good hair and teeth. It was only later that she conceded there might be a brain in there somewhere.

The “nice tits” is a reminder to those of us out here in Flyover Country that the only reason these people are given any attention is that they are celebrities — for the most part known for their vaguely attractive looks and the fact that they are malleable enough for more-intelligent, (albeit physically less attractive), people to put words in their mouths and move them around in front of a camera.

(And, I would like to point out, most of them — even the [putative] “best” among them — aren’t very good at it. If you listen to any popular Hollywood actor deliver a line some time and listen — really listen — to the dialog and think about how much sense the reading makes, you’re forced to wonder how these people can follow a shopping list, let alone a moderately literate script.)

In short, they are pretty faces with good hair and teeth and — in the case of most of the women — nice tits.

In an effort to be kind, even complimentary, Alger says the nicest thing about them he can find. Being a man who was orally fixated at an early age, he love large, firm, and shapely breasts on women. (Da Doll can relate, having a world-class, weapons-grade rack herself.) Thus the comment, “Nice tits.” I doubt the follow-on concession will ever have to be made.

Now you know. Spread the même.